On Thursday evening, the American Jewish Press Association announced the winners of the 40th Annual Simon Rockower Awards for Jewish journalism published in 2020.
Jewish Standard editor Joanne Palmer won four awards:
First Award for Excellence in Personal Essay for “My mother’s funeral.”
The judge’s comment: “Moving in a personal way, and written with exceptional grace and clarity. We’ve all been there, funerals in the era of COVID, and this piece did justice to every aspect of that all-too-commonplace experience.”
First Award for Excellence in Arts News and Features — Reporting, for “Collectors and their collections”
First Place Award for Excellence in Writing About Jewish Heritage and Jewish Peoplehood in Europe, for “The passion play at Oberammergau”
The judge’s comment: While a story about a Bavarian passion play about Jesus would seem unlikely to be printed in a Jewish newspaper, Joanne Palmer’s story is eye-opening in only a positive way. By focusing on the role that two northeastern New Jersey rabbis are playing in advising the current artistic director in making the play less antisemitic, readers learn about the good works of these local religious leaders. More importantly, Palmer shows reader that even in Bavaria — the birthplace of Hitler — there are non-Jews who are working diligently to end anti-Jewish stereotypes and harmful Jewish hatred that has been part of the Christian passion play for centuries. A fascinating and well-written story.
Honorable Mention Award for Excellence in North American Jewish History for “Becoming an American”
Associate Editor Larry Yudelson won two awards:
Second Place Award for Excellence in Writing About Health Care for “Born with BRCA.”
The judge’s comment: In a year dominated by COVID comes this great story about a very specific Jewish health concern, as told through the lens of a well-known Jewish musician.
Second Place Award for Excellence in Writing About Black-Jewish Relationships for “It happened here.”
Last fall, the Jewish Standard took over publication of the New Jersey Jewish News, just to our south. Writers on that paper won three awards:
Lori Silberman Brauner won Second Place Award for Excellence in Photography for “Off the beaten path in Morocco.”
Jed Weisberger won Honorable Mention for Excellence in Education Reporting for “Survivor comes to life in the classroom.”
Johanna R. Ginsberg won First Place Award for Excellence in Writing About COVID-19 for “Hospital chaplains play pivotal role during crisis.”